The Windows XP Media Center was released on September 2002. It was
code named “Harmony” during the development phase. Microsoft initially sold this
software only with computers that had the required hardware compatibilities.
There are five releases of the software with different version. The first
version was released in 2002 and the next four versions followed in the
consecutive years of 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. This media player is a total
entertainment package. It enables the user to view television on the computer.
In addition, it also offers a host of other entertaining features.
Complete Television Watching Experience
The XP Media Center offers to play DVDs with full progressive scan and online
chapter look up. The “My TV” feature allows the user to browse and watch TV. It
can work with many channels at the same time and processes both analog and
digital TV signal. “My TV” works with antenna, cable or satellite TV connection.
Microsoft provides the TV program guide, TV search and Movie Finder services
free of cost.
Do you think that this is the best that you can get with this media player?
How about controlling live TV? Yes, the software allows you to record live TV
programs. This is a fabulous feature as you will never miss a single moment of
your favorite TV show. If your door bell rings or you have to attend an urgent
telephone call, you can pause live TV and record the program so that you can
resume back when you are free.
Personal Music Collection
“My Music” feature on this Media Center offers easy access to online and
personal music collections. With this feature on board, you can access your
collection of online and personal music. Now you can easily manage your music
files and enjoy your favorite music anytime, just like your dedicated music
“My Video” and “My Pictures” are the other two popular options of the Media
Center that gives a new definition to entertainment.
The “Online Spotlight” is a service provided by Microsoft, to the users of
Windows XP Media Center. This service provides a smooth and fast access to
music, movie down loads and radio services. It also helps in obtaining instant
access to customize online programs. The media player comes equipped with a
remote control. This remote control helps to conduct all the functions and
features of the media center as per the user command. This provides the
conventional pleasure of watching the TV from a distance; along with the friends
and family. The remote control complements the keyboard and mouse. The button
labels, functionality and general layout of the remote are standardized.
The Movie Finder service helps to track down a favorite movie on the TV
channels or to rent movies online. My Radio feature offers to catch the online
radio or the local FM stations on air. The feature is cool and easy to use. It
is as easy as to start up a car stereo. The program compiles all the information
and stores them in an easy to find format. The best part is that “My Radio”
feature allows the user to pause the live radio and go back up to 30 minutes of
the live radio.
There is an option called More Programs in the software that allows you to
access the services and applications installed on your computer. In one place,
you can arrange all the services and applications for the Media Center easily.
This helps you to easily access your preferred application whenever you need.
Using in Home and Office
This is a media player that has been developed only for the purpose of home
entertainment. In fact, it serves as the best tool to use your personal computer
for the entertainment purpose. To enjoy the coolest advantage of this software,
you just need a basic computer, which is loaded with Microsoft XP operating
system. However, you can also connect it with your other home entertainment
devices such as television.
It is capable of running office applications and it can work with Unicode and
twelve languages, yet it is not an ideal choice for office use. It cannot
provide a high level of networking and security features that are essential for
a business. Unless you spend entire time in your office by watching videos or
movies, this software is not suitable for using at office.
Needs a Top Level System
You have to keep in mind that a high level of computer is a must to enjoy the
superior performance of this media player. If you have a low level unit that is
not too high on performance, then you will definitely not be satisfied with the
kind of result by playing this media player. What type of personal computer can
provide the best results? It needs to be an upgraded PC a large hard drive
storage space, RAM of around 2 GB, and a good quality sound card and graphics
card will provide you with good experience. To download movies or music files,
you need to have access to a high-speed internet connection. A dial-up
connection is strictly no-no if you want to get a smooth and speedy experience
of playing media files on this media player. These are the basic requirements
that you need to enjoy Media Center’s top class performance.
The hardware requirement for installing the Media Center is pretty steep. The
hardware requirement is more than the Windows XP operating system. The software
has a minimum requirement of 1.6 GHz processor, DirectX 9.0 hardware accelerated
GPU and 256 MB RAM. The additional features of Media Center Extender support,
multiple tuner application or HDTV use will demand higher hardware requirements.
Overall, the Windows XP Media Center is a complete package that has
given a new definition to home entertainment. It possesses minimum requirements
and you can enjoy the best quality of movies, videos, music and pictures. It
guarantees a complete user-friendly experience.